OSM Inspector/Views/Water

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The Water view in OSM Inspector shows coastlines, rivers, lakes, and many other features related to water.


OSM contains numerous data related to water. There are rivers, streams, lakes, coastlines and many other features. This view tries to show them all. This should help with solving more complex issues like: where does a river end and the coastline begins.

Data sources

Most layers are derived from OSM data.

The VMAP0 rivers layer is derived from Vector Map Level Zero data. This is an older public domain data set with low resolution roads, rivers, coastlines, etc. Not updated automatically.


The light green Simple islands layer shows small islands with a single way as outline. If the coastline of the island is made up from several ways it is not shown (but the coastline will still appear in the coastline layer).

The Bodies of water layer shows all bodies of water (such as lakes) created out of a single closed way tagged as natural=water. This is currently used for all bodies of water except the oceans.

The Coastline is shown as a green line with a blue-gray border on the water side. Red dots on the coastline show Unconnected coastlines, i.e. there is a gap in the coastline. These need to be fixed. If the coastline way crosses or touches itself (Self-intersecting coastline), it is shown as a red line with little red cross lines. These also need to be fixed.

Waterways such as rivers from VMAP0 data is shown as gray lines. These are not imported into OSM, they are just shown for reference.

Long rivers are ways tagged with waterway=river or waterway=canal. They have been aggregated into longer linestrings if they have the same name. Only rivers longer than about 0.5 degrees are shown. This helps in finding rivers with mis-spelled names or rivers which have pieces missing.

The pink Waterways with width layer shows all waterways tagged with width=*.

Two layers show Waterways in tunnels and Waterways on bridges.

There are several layers showing ways tagged waterway=drain, waterway=canal, waterway=stream, waterway=river, and waterway=riverbank in different colors. A further layer shows all ways tagged with an unknown waterway=* tag.

Normally all rivers, streams, and canals should have names. The Waterway without names layer shows ways tagged as such but without name.

The Broken bodies of water layer shows ways tagged as natural=water which are not closed or for some other reason can't be made into a polygon. They need to be fixed.

When zoomed in far enough the Coastline nodes and Waterway nodes layers show the endnode of ways tagged as coastline or waterways, respectively. This helps figuring out where one way ends and the next begins.

Rivermouths are nodes on a way tagged as waterway=* and at the same time on a way tagged as natural=coastline. They are shown as green triangles and help to make sure rivers actually end up in the sea.


  • highlight layer=-1 for streams and rivers. Many rivers and creeks in northern Italy are tagged with layer=-1 erroneously. RicoZ (talk) 13:55, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


See also